I was very interested in the knowledge I was sure to acquire at the Teach-In on how to fight deportations. The leaders, young adults, all of Latin American descent, adorning black graduation caps symbolizing graduation from Dream University, were very welcoming and enthusiastic. They were also very adaptable; they quickly adjusted the schedule and location of the Teach-In due to unforeseen weather conditions. We marched as a group to the new location, the SIM office, after the leaders talked to two media personnel and the group posed for photos. We walked a few blocks from City Hall –the initial location – to the new location; we held posters with various messages against deportation and in support of immigration reform. The walk really marked the beginning of the experience as the group chanted along the streets of Boston. It was great to see the response from people we walked by. We were greeted by wondering eyes, excited supporters who cheered us on, and a few annoyed pedestrians as we were filling up the sidewalks.
Once we got to the new location and got through introductions and an icebreaker (our thoughts with regards to our walk to the office), the Teach-In formally kicked off with a personal story from Vivian Deleon whose father was deported last year.. Following the story, three leaders presented various aspects of launching and running a successful campaign to fight a person’s deportation. The first leader focused on the legal process, particularly the specifics of the Prosecutorial Discretion. The second leader talked about the specific steps one has to take to launch and carry out a campaign; she went over the background organizing steps that should be taken, particularly the importance of communicating with the family and with legal counsel and making sure that the organizer sticks to his or her role and is not taking on all the responsibilities in the campaign. The third leader talked about the challenges involved in running campaigns, including the importance of connecting with the family. He also gave examples from the successful and unsuccessful campaigns that SIM has been involved in. After all the presentations, the last leader talked about a campaign that they are currently running to prevent the deportation of Justo Rufino and every participant called ICE to show support for Justo. Overall, the Teach-In was very informative and beneficial. I really appreciated the legal perspective of the issue and I thought the whole event was very successful and wonderfully presented. It was great to see young people treat this issue with the respect and seriousness that it deserves not only because they are affected by it but because they see the value in addressing it carefully.
June 30, 2013- Reflections on #Not1More Week of Action against Deportations and Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) Teach In